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Attacks on Syria's civilians 'horrified' top UN humanitarian administrator

Scores of people were killed in the attack in Douma on Sunday [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 August, 2015

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Analysis: The UN's humanitarian chief fiercely condemned attacks against civilians in Syria on Monday, a day after one of the bloodiest government raids in the four-year war.


The UN's humanitarian chief has fiercely condemned attacks against civilians in Syria, a day after one of the bloodiest government raids in the four-year war.

"I am horrified by the total disrespect for civilian life in this conflict," Stephen O'Brien said in a statement, adding that "attacks on civilians are unlawful, unacceptable and must stop."

     I am horrified by the total disrespect for civilian life in this conflict. Attacks on civilians are unlawful, unacceptable and must stop

O'Brien spoke in Damascus on Monday at the end of a three-day visit to Syria, during which he met senior officials and visited the central province of Homs.

He said he was "particularly appalled" by reports of civilian deaths in Sunday's airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Douma, where nearly 100 people were killed in 10 government raids.

Another 240 people were wounded in the strikes, some of whom were in critical condition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In a statement released by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, O'Brien appealed "to each and every party to this protracted conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law".

O'Brien had discussed strengthening the UN's humanitarian operations with Syrian officials, but remained "concerned" about 4.6 million Syrians stuck in hard-to-reach and besieged zones.

The UN's Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, also condemned the weekend bombings, calling it "unacceptable".

"The government's bombing of Douma is devastating," de Mistura said. "Hitting crowded civilian markets killing almost one hundred of its own citizens by a government is unacceptable in any circumstances."

De Mistura said Sunday's attacks underscored the need to resume political dialogue to end the conflict that has claimed more than 240,000 lives.

"This conflict will have no military solution, as has been proven over the recent years," de Mistura said in a statement.

The UN envoy last month floated an idea to restart stalled peace talks, by inviting Syrians to take part in thematic working groups that could start in September.

Previous peace talks in Geneva collapsed in 2012 and 2014, but de Mistura told the Security Council that the UN had an obligation to keep the prospect of dialogue alive.

At least four million Syrians have been forced to flee the country, and millions of others are internally displaced.


The brutal massacre sparked a lot of anger over social media, with many taking to Twitter to comment and to share shocking images following the attack.

Many expressed their frustration over the mainstream media's lack of coverage on the attack. Others called on officials to "do more" to end the ongoing conflict:

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